Northcote High School

The Northcote High School, situated where the Inebriates Retreat and Merri Park were located, was the first high school to be opened in the northern suburbs. Many councils in the area contributed £3000 to go towards the creation of the school. The councils of Northcote, Preston, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Heidelberg and Whittlesea all contributed, Collingwood council refused to pay a share.

The old Inebriate Retreat buildings, which had been privately let until this time, were demolished and temporary wooden classrooms were put in its place. These were first occupied in May 1926, three months after high school classes actually begun at the Methodist Sunday School in High Street on the 9th of February. The number of enrolments when the school first opened was 123. This number consisted of both boys and girls, however, when the permanent high school building was opened for use in 1929, the Northcote High School became a school for boys only and the girls were transferred to Preston Domestic Arts School (later known as Preston Girls High).

A new brick building facing St. George’s Road was erected and in use by February 1929 though it wasn’t officially opened until September by the Minister of Education, Hon. H. I. Cohen, K.C., M.L.C. With the new building supplying more space, enrolment increased to 468 boys, and then to 520 the next year. During the Second World War the school was used for air cadet training and ambulance drivers’ classes. In 1989, Northcote High School again became co-educational after pressure from the community.

Darebin Libraries. Local History File: Northcote High School.

Swift, William George (1928). The history of Northcote: From its first settlement to a city. Northcote, Vic: Leader Publishing.